4 Things To Know About Cataract Surgery

by Apr 24, 2023

When considering whether or not to pursue cataract surgery, it is important to understand that the procedure does not cause any substantial pain during or after surgery. The surgery is done under conscious sedation through an IV and often there will be a valium or other sedative prescribed prior to the surgery in order to calm the anxiety of having the procedure.

During the surgery, topical eye drops are used to numb the surface of the eye. The first instrument inserted during the surgery will also inject an anesthetic medication into the inside of the eye. Throughout the surgery, medication is used to keep the patient comfortable and without any pain. In the immediate recovery period – usually a few hours after surgery – the eye may be sore or ache. This is a typical part of the healing process and usually by the next day the achiness has faded and there is no other discomfort.


Sedation for Cataract Surgery

In most cases of cataract surgery, the primary anesthetic medication is administered through an IV.

This anesthetic medication is to relax and numb any pain, but it is not completely knocked out or put to sleep.

This type of sedation is referred to as conscious sedation since the patient is awake throughout the procedure.

While conscious, the sedation is so significant that the patient may not be fully lucid and will very likely not remember the entire procedure after one night of sleep.

Topical Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery

Since the cataract surgery involves a significant amount of maneuvering of and contact with the cornea which is extremely sensitive to contact, a topical eye drop is given to completely numb the eye prior to the surgery.

This eye drop is applied when preparing for the surgery and then again before the surgery begins.

The topical anesthetic drop prevents any pain or discomfort from the eye being touched, scratched, or dry during the procedure.


Intraocular Injection Anesthesia for Cataract Surgery

The final type of anesthesia used in cataract surgery is an injection that places numbing medication within the eye.

This is a redundancy along with the IV sedation, as there should not be any pain or sensation in the eye.

However, by using this injectable medication, it is assumed that the procedure will be tolerated without pain, discomfort, or irritation.


Pain After Cataract Surgery

After having cataract surgery, it is common for the eye that was operated on to feel achy, irritated, or have mild discomfort.

These are all accepted symptoms of recovery from the surgery and will fade within the first day after the surgery.

Often, if these symptoms occur, the cause is dryness on the front of the eye due to the eye being open for the duration of the surgery.

In addition to any post-operative medications that were prescribed, an over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tear can be used to improve the comfort of the eye.

If the pain or discomfort is bothersome enough, over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken.


Dr. Nathan Abraham and the staff of the Abraham Eye Center specialize in cataract surgery, LASIK, PRK, and various corneal surgeries.  Call our ophthalmologist in Valencia, CA today at 661-977-7377 or schedule an appointment online if you are interested in cataract surgery.  Our eye doctor provides only the highest quality eye care and surgical services amongst eye doctors in the Valencia California area.

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